Jaclynn (Jax) Brennan is the CEO and founder of the private membership mastermind for women entrepreneurs Phylic. Known as a NaAs company.
The “Great Resignation” comes at an interesting time in our history. In the past three years, we’ve seen a huge leap in entrepreneurship, with a record 5.4 million new businesses in the US last year, according to the Census Bureau.
Growing up with technology at their fingertips, millennials have learned how to automate, become more efficient, and work faster and smarter. Gen-Z and the next generations are the most technologically advanced humans in our history. Whether we want to hear this or not, technology is the future. What companies and CEOs need to keep in mind right now is how we can help emerging entrepreneurs and next-generation leaders learn the most important lessons about building a business. while using technology in all its glory?
This boils down to a few key factors: defining your core values, determining your why, building a healthy corporate culture based on leadership from the heart, creating global impact for good, and most importantly, a human connection in the midst of all technology.
Society and culture have taught us for so many years that success is determined by how much money you have in the bank. Our identities can become so entangled in our professional status that we forget our ‘why’. Few of us learned in school how to define our core personal values, be a conscious and compassionate leader, or discover our goal path.
The pandemic was a “Great Awakening” for many people around the world. It started resetting our society and taught us how to rebuild ourselves in some of the hardest moments and darkest places. When the world stopped, I lived on Wall Street across from the New York Stock Exchange. Every night at 7pm, every building in my neighborhood would open its windows and cheer with pots and pans to greet all the people on the front lines: nurses, doctors, teachers, police, firefighters, etc. We honored the brave people who left every day the house and risked their lives to serve and help others. I looked forward to that moment every day because it was a small glimmer of hope and light in a very dark time.
Another thing happened during that time: the American workforce stopped. According to the American Chamber of Commerce2021 was known as the Great Retirement because “more than 47 million employees left their jobs, many of whom sought better work-life balance and flexibility, higher compensation and a strong corporate culture.” Americans began to open their eyes to this new world and decided to do things differently for the first time in a very long time.
Millennials and Gen-Z are not only at the forefront of this demand for improved corporate culture and personal wellbeing, but also expect more from their business when it comes to social responsibility. They want to work for and with companies that really care about the impact they make on social issues and the environment.
Millennials and Gen-Z often get a bad rap for being “lazy” or looking for instant gratification. Some of that may be true, but what older generations haven’t seen is their ability to create their own way forward — leaving certain established rules behind and literally rewriting the script. These generations start businesses at a younger age than previous generations and rely on the community to guide them. In addition to community-driven membership groups for entrepreneurs, they also have social media and platforms like YouTube to lean on, with self-learning tactics and guidance. This ability to learn from more experienced entrepreneurs and exchange ideas with like-minded individuals has forged the mindset of collaboration rather than competition, further fueling success.
Your job can have a huge impact on your quality of life. If so, why work for ‘the man’? Why use your innate gifts and creativity to do something that doesn’t bring you joy and happiness? We’ve been told for so long that it’s all about money, and it really isn’t. Money essentially buys power, but it can never buy happiness. That’s something we need to cultivate in ourselves.
My suggestion for emerging founders and entrepreneurs is to start with pen and paper (yes, I know, old times) and write your own personal definition of success. Start thinking about your own core values. How do you want to feel? What will give you the most satisfaction in your business and personal life? This is your Why, and it will help you develop a business idea that you are really passionate about.
Once the idea is established, here are a few tips for making it a reality.
1. Do your research. And then do something. Meet as many people in your industry as possible, seek feedback, conduct interviews with your prospective company’s target audience, and consider joining a membership community. How do you translate these findings into the culture of your company? How do you establish human connection? What is your impact strategy?
2. Stay focused. Once you start building your business plan and setting your goals, consistency and structure will be everything. Having a regulated weekly, routine and time blocking system will help you optimize your productivity and keep you on track.
3. Know your weaknesses. You won’t know everything, and you shouldn’t. You don’t have to figure it all out before you start – mistakes come with the opportunity to grow and adapt. Know your superpowers and weaknesses help you determine the right people to add to your team. Creating a team of diverse thinkers, makers and experts in different niches will relieve the pressure of having to ‘know everything’.
Millennials and Gen-Zs Betting big on this new era. We are redefining what success means. Being a founder isn’t easy, and it certainly won’t be handed to you. But you will wake up every morning envisioning your goal and creating the life you have always wanted and imagined.